What brings you to Léman International School Chengdu?
I'm fortunate enough to be in a profession that links so closely with many of my passions. Throughout my career I have tried to find schools that share my passion for learning. Léman International School Chengdu has a well-earned reputation and ethos for furthering learning through reflection and innovation. Léman’s highly experienced school staff, world-class facilities, and truly passionate community of learners was something that I was excited to continue my teaching practice in such a highly regarded learning environment.
Can you please introduce yourself to our LIS community?
I'm incredibly fortunate to have a very diverse background. I am Irish and Spanish, with both my parents hailing from very rural villages in their respective countries. However, I grew up predominately in Japan, so more often I was labeled a'third-culture kid'. I was born in the UK, we moved east when I was four and I attended international school in Japan up to Year 11. I completed my studies in the UK, completing the IB diploma and BSc in Natural Sciences, before finishing my PGCE in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. I stayed on in the Cambridge area to teach for a further 4 years before I decided to seek posts abroad. During my years teaching in both Cairo, Egypt and Penang, Malaysia I have grown professionally and personally, taking on various responsibility roles and learning different languages, about different cultures and about various ways people learn. I'm incredibly excited to join the Léman International School's diverse community and learning from my colleagues, students and wider community.
Why did you choose Nord Anglia Education to expand your career?
I have worked internationally for some time and have come across Nord Anglia Education schools and conversed with many staff members across its network of schools who speak very highly of NAE. I wanted to join Nord Anglia Education to expand my career in various different ways. I relished the opportunity to do this more, taking advantage of Nord Anglia's innovative use of educational technology to create a 21st Century, personalised, learning experience for all students. I wanted the experience to develop professionally with its clear and coherent development focussed on the 5 pillars. I am particularly excited to learn from Nord Anglia's STEAM partnership with MIT as, whilst I have experience implementing STEAM units across schools I have worked at, I wish to further this experience with the opportunity Nord Anglia provides with its breadth of curriculum.
How are you going to work with your students to encourage them “To Be Ambitious”?
I feel a growth mindset and a “learning how to learn” approach is of great importance in school as it fosters the importance of being involved in the learning process. To be ambitious can be to set high expectations for oneself but also seeing mistakes and 'failure' as an opportunity for further growth. Often, when people haven’t experienced the peaks and troughs whilst learning, they aren’t receptive to new concepts and how to evaluate their own progress when dealing with them. It’s essential that classroom practice reflects inquiry, ensuring pupils take ‘risks’ and be inquisitive so that they can be involved in successes and ‘fails’ but see a ‘fail’ as a ‘first attempt in learning’. With a safe, supportive network, children can build their confidence and feel they are able to achieve various academic and personal challenges and experience success that often spurs them on to be even more ambitious.
What do you like to do outside of school?
Outside of school, I love to play sports, such as basketball, ultimate frisbee, football and squash (and many more). I equally enjoy exploring, be it rainforest, desert, underwater environments or cultural heritage and cuisine. I've thoroughly missed doing these during the last 18 months and hope that my move to China will help enable these pursuits.
What do you plan to bring to the school?
I have worked as a class teacher in various year groups. I have worked alongside my colleagues across a variety of curricula to find authentic learning experiences, reflecting on 'will it improve learning?', and matching learning to the needs and learning styles of the pupils in my class. In addition, I have also worked as Phase Leader for Teaching and Learning, and as Science Curriculum Leader, to further curriculum mapping, finding and implementing even more learning-rich authentic experiences for learners across the curriculum. Furthermore, I have worked collaboratively with senior leaders and teachers to establish formative assessment schemes that suited the school's aims and could then be shared and built on with students and parents. In that way, teachers and students were able to work collaboratively to reflect on learning and further identify areas for improvement so both learners and support networks could be better equipped and involved in their next steps old their learning.